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The logical form of action sentences

In Nicholas Rescher (ed.), The Logic of Decision and Action. University of Pittsburgh Press. pp. 81--95 (1967)

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  1. The Average American has 2.3 Children.Greg Carlson & Francis Jeffry Pelletier - 2002 - Journal of Semantics 19 (1):73-104.
    Average‐NPs, such as the one in the title of this paper, have been claimed to be ‘linguistically identical’ to any other definite‐NPs but at the same time to be ‘semantically inconsistent’ with these other definite‐NPs. To some this is an ironclad proof of the irrelevance of semantics to linguistics. We argue that both of the initial claims are wrong: average‐NPs are not ‘linguistically identical’ to other definite‐NPs but instead show a number of interesting divergences, and we provide a plausible semantic (...)
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  • Why Davidson is Not a Property Epiphenomenalist.Sophie Gibb - 2006 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 14 (3):407 – 422.
    Despite the fact that Davidson's theory of the causal relata is crucial to his response to the problem of mental causation - that of anomalous monism - it is commonly overlooked within discussions of his position. Anomalous monism is accused of entailing property epiphenomenalism, but given Davidson's understanding of the causal relata, such accusations are wholly misguided. There are, I suggest, two different forms of property epiphenomenalism. The first understands the term 'property' in an ontological sense, the second in a (...)
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  • Two Approaches to Event Ontology.Eugen Zeleňák - 2009 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 16 (3):283-303.
    In the paper, I distinguish between the semantic and the “direct” approach to event ontology. The first approach, employed by D. Davidson, starts with logical analysis of natural language. This analysis uncovers quantification over the domain of events. Thus, we have ontological commitment to events and, at the same time, also a suggestion of how to view their nature. The second approach, used by J. Kim and D. Lewis, deals with events “directly”, i.e. not by analyzing language first. Events are (...)
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  • Causal Slingshots.Michael Baumgartner - 2010 - Erkenntnis 72 (1):111-133.
    Causal slingshots are formal arguments advanced by proponents of an event ontology of token-level causation which, in the end, are intended to show two things: (i) The logical form of statements expressing causal dependencies on token level features a binary predicate ‘‘... causes ...’’ and (ii) that predicate takes events as arguments. Even though formalisms are only revealing with respect to the logical form of natural language statements, if the latter are shown to be adequately captured within a corresponding formalism, (...)
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  • Formalna analiza značenja u prirodnim jezicima.Ljiljana Saric - 2006 - Prolegomena 5 (1):65-88.
    Tema je ovoga teksta u širem smislu osvrt na odnos logike i lingvistike. U užem smislu tekst će se u prvome dijelu osvrnuti na teme i instrumentarij, a u drugom na povijest formalne semantike. Recepcija formalnosemantičkih radova na našim područjima nema čvršću tradiciju, kao ni primjena formalnih metoda na proučavanje jezika, pa se i stoga čini korisnim ukazati na njezine dosege. Formalna semantika inspirativno je i plodonosno interdisciplinarno polje istraživanja koje je od 70-tih godina 20. stoljeća iznimno uspješno povezivalo istraživanja (...)
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  • Trying in Some Way.David-Hillel Ruben - 2013 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (4):719-733.
    Does 'Person P tried to A' entail that there is some particular, whether a mental act or a brain state or whatever, that is a trying? Most discussions of trying assume that this entailment holds. There is no good reason for holding that this is a valid inference. In particular, I examine one 'Davidsonian' argument that might be used to justify the validity of such an inference and argue that the argument is not sound. See: http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/IxsuPqt7rvdzqMxpFiTv/full.
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  • Problems for Logical Pluralism.Owen Griffiths - 2013 - History and Philosophy of Logic 34 (2):170 - 182.
    I argue that Beall and Restall's logical pluralism fails. Beall?Restall pluralism is the claim that there are different, equally correct logical consequence relations in a single language. Their position fails for two, related, reasons: first, it relies on an unmotivated conception of the ?settled core? of consequence: they believe that truth-preservation, necessity, formality and normativity are ?settled? features of logical consequence and that any relation satisfying these criteria is a logical consequence relation. I consider historical evidence and argue that their (...)
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  • Comment on Yli-Vakkuri and Hawthorne, Narrow Content.Alex Byrne - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies.
    This comment concentrates on Y&H’s preferred framework for discussing the issue of broad vs. narrow content, arguing that it is not well-suited to the task; once a more traditional framework is adopted, Y&H’s case against internalism is strengthened. The comment ends by briefly mentioning an appealing internalist picture that their otherwise comprehensive critique does not address.
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  • Erklärung und Kausalität.Max Kistler - 2002 - Philosophia Naturalis 39 (1):89-109.
    Causation is analysed in terms of transference of amounts of conserved quantities between events. Such amounts are tropes. However, causal explanations are directly made true, not by transmission relations but by relations of causal responsibility, of a fact Fc about the cause event c for a fact Ge about the effect event e. Causal responsibility is analysed in terms of causation between events c and e and a law of nature holding between the properties F and G. This account overcomes (...)
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  • Openness to the World:: An Enquiry Into the Intentionality of Perception.Giananti Andrea & Soldati Gianfranco - 2015 - Dissertation, L’Université de Fribourg
    When we perceive we are under the impression of being directly aware of concrete, mindindependent objects. We also consider perception as a basic, reliable source for acquiring beliefs and an effective means for coping with the environment. In the philosophical literature, this direct and basic character of perception is sometimes captured by saying that perception is openness to the world. Articulating, refining and vindicating as far as possible this commonsensical view of perception as openness to the world is the main (...)
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  • At One with Our Actions, but at Two with Our Bodies: Hornsby's Account of Action.Adrian Haddock - 2005 - Philosophical Explorations 8 (2):157 – 172.
    Jennifer Hornsby's account of human action frees us from the temptation to think of the person who acts as 'doing' the events that are her actions, and thereby removes much of the allure of 'agent causation'. But her account is spoiled by the claim that physical actions are 'tryings' that cause bodily movements. It would be better to think of physical actions and bodily movements as identical; but Hornsby refuses to do this, seemingly because she thinks that to do so (...)
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  • Designing Meaningful Agents.Matthew Stone - 2004 - Cognitive Science 28 (5):781-809.
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  • Semantics and Computational Semantics.Matthew Stone - unknown
    Interdisciplinary investigations marry the methods and concerns of different fields. Computer science is the study of precise descriptions of finite processes; semantics is the study of meaning in language. Thus, computational semantics embraces any project that approaches the phenomenon of meaning by way of tasks that can be performed by following definite sets of mechanical instructions. So understood, computational semantics revels in applying semantics, by creating intelligent devices whose broader behavior fits the meanings of utterances, and not just their form. (...)
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  • Declarative Programming for Natural Language Generation.Matthew Stone - manuscript
    Algorithms for NLG NLG is typically broken down into stages of discourse planning (to select information and organize it into coherent paragraphs), sentence planning (to choose words and structures to fit information into sentence-sized units), and realization (to determine surface form of output, including word order, morphology and final formatting or intonation). The SPUD system combines the generation steps of sentence planning and surface realization by using a lexicalized grammar to construct the syntax and semantics of a sentence simultaneously.
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  • The Accident of Logical Constants.Tristan Grøtvedt Haze - 2020 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 9 (1):34-42.
    Work on the nature and scope of formal logic has focused unduly on the distinction between logical and extra-logical vocabulary; which argument forms a logical theory countenances depends not only on its stock of logical terms, but also on its range of grammatical categories and modes of composition. Furthermore, there is a sense in which logical terms are unnecessary. Alexandra Zinke has recently pointed out that propositional logic can be done without logical terms. By defining a logical-term-free language with the (...)
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  • The Problem of Validity Proofs.Michael Baumgartner & Timm Lampert - 2010 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 80 (1):79-109.
    In philosophical contexts, logical formalisms are often resorted to as a means to render the validity and invalidity of informal arguments formally transparent. Since Oliver and Massey , however, it has been recognized in the literature that identifying valid arguments is easier than identifying invalid ones. Still, any viable theory of adequate logical formalization should at least reliably identify valid arguments. This paper argues that accounts of logical formalization as developed by Blau and Brun do not meet that benchmark. The (...)
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  • Aristotle on Action.Ursula Coope - 2007 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 81 (1):109–138.
  • Conjuring Ethics From Words.Jonathan McKeown-Green, Glen Pettigrove & Aness Webster - 2015 - Noûs 49 (1):71-93.
    Many claims about conceptual matters are often represented as, or inferred from, claims about the meaning, reference, or mastery, of words. But sometimes this has led to treating conceptual analysis as though it were nothing but linguistic analysis. We canvass the most promising justifications for moving from linguistic premises to substantive conclusions. We show that these justifications fail and argue against current practice (in metaethics and elsewhere), which confuses an investigation of a word’s meaning, reference, or competence conditions with an (...)
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  • Action Theory and the Value of Sport.Jon Pike - 2019 - Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 46 (1):14-29.
    ABSTRACTI present a corrective to the formalist and conventionalist down-playing of physical actions in the understanding of the value of sport. I give a necessarily brief account of the Causal Theory of Action and its implications for the normativity of actions. I show that the CTA has limitations, particularly in the case of failed or incomplete actions, and I show that failed or incomplete actions are constitutive of sport. This allows me to open up the space for another model, drawn (...)
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  • The Logical Form of Negative Action Sentences.Jonathan D. Payton - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (6):855-876.
    It is typically assumed that actions are events, but there is a growing consensus that negative actions, like omissions and refrainments, are not events, but absences thereof. If so, then we must either deny the obvious, that we can exercise our agency by omitting and refrainment, or give up on event-based theories of agency. I trace the consensus to the assumption that negative action sentences are negative-existentials, and argue that this is false. The best analysis of negative action sentences treats (...)
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  • An A-Theory Without Tense Operators.Meghan Sullivan - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (4-5):735-758.
    A-theorists think there is a fundamental difference between the present and other times. This concern shows up in what kinds of properties they take to be instantiated, what objects they think exist and how they formalize their views. Nearly every contemporary A-theorist assumes that her metaphysics requires a tense logic – a logic with operators like and. In this paper, I show that there is at least one viable A-theory that does not require a logic with tense operators. And I (...)
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  • Can Semantics Guide Ontology?Katherine Ritchie - 2016 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (1):24-41.
    Since the linguistic turn, many have taken semantics to guide ontology. Here, I argue that semantics can, at best, serve as a partial guide to ontological commitment. If semantics were to be our guide, semantic data and semantic treatments would need to be taken seriously. Through an examination of plurals and their treatments, I argue that there can be multiple, equally semantically adequate, treatments of a natural language theory. Further, such treatments can attribute different ontological commitments to a theory. Given (...)
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  • The Long Shadow of Semantic Platonism: Part I: General Considerations.Gustavo Picazo - 2021 - Philosophia 49 (4):1427-1453.
    The present article is the first of a trilogy of papers, devoted to analysing the influence of semantic Platonism on contemporary philosophy of language. In the present article, I lay out the discussion by contrasting semantic Platonism with two other views of linguistic meaning: the socio-environmental conception of meaning and semantic anti-representationalism. Then, I identify six points in which the impregnation of semantic theory with Platonism can be particularly felt, resulting in shortcomings and inaccuracies of various kinds. These points are (...)
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  • Truth and Gradability.Jared Henderson - 2021 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 50 (4):755-779.
    I argue for two claims: that the ordinary English truth predicate is a gradable adjective and that truth is a property that comes in degrees. The first is a semantic claim, motivated by the linguistic evidence and the similarity of the truth predicate’s behavior to other gradable terms. The second is a claim in natural language metaphysics, motivated by interpreting the best semantic analysis of gradable terms as applied to the truth predicate. In addition to providing arguments for these two (...)
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  • A Short Vindication of Reichenbach's «Event-Splitting».K. Pfeifer - 1988 - Logique Et Analyse 31 (121-122):143-152.
    In "The Logical Form of Action Sentences" Donald Davidson argues that Hans Reichenbach's analysis of action and event sentences is "radically defective." I show that Reichenbach can easily deflect Davidson's objections, thus leaving their respective accounts largely comparable.
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  • Multistable Figures: On the Critical Potentials of Ir/Reversible Aspect-Seeing.Christoph Holzhey (ed.) - 2014 - Vienna: Turia + Kant.
    Multistable figures offer an intriguing model for arbitrating conflicting positions. Moving back and forth between the different aspects under which something can be seen, one recognizes that mutually contradictory descriptions can be equally valid and that disputes over the correct account can be resolved without dissolving differences or establishing a higher synthesis. Yet, the experience of a gestalt switch also offers a model for radical conversions and revolutions – that is, for irreversible leaps to incommensurable alternatives foiling ideals of rational (...)
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  • Semantics with Assignment Variables.Alex Silk - 2021 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    This book combines insights from philosophy and linguistics to develop a novel framework for theorizing about linguistic meaning and the role of context in interpretation. A key innovation is to introduce explicit representations of context — assignment variables — in the syntax and semantics of natural language. The proposed theory systematizes a spectrum of “shifting” phenomena in which the context relevant for interpreting certain expressions depends on features of the linguistic environment. Central applications include local and nonlocal contextual dependencies with (...)
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  • Backwards and Forwards in the Modal Logic of Agency.Nuel Belnap - 1991 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 51 (4):777-807.
  • Updating as Communication.Sarah Moss - 2012 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 85 (2):225-248.
    Traditional procedures for rational updating fail when it comes to self-locating opinions, such as your credences about where you are and what time it is. This paper develops an updating procedure for rational agents with self-locating beliefs. In short, I argue that rational updating can be factored into two steps. The first step uses information you recall from your previous self to form a hypothetical credence distribution, and the second step changes this hypothetical distribution to reflect information you have genuinely (...)
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  • Individuating Actions: The Fine—Grained Approach.Hugh J. Mccann - 1983 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 13 (4):493 - 512.
    When Booth moved his finger, thereby firing a gun, thereby killing Lincoln, did he perform three discrete actions, or were there relations of identity or inclusion among them? Most treatments of this problem have tended to assume there is but one sort of entity properly to be called an action, and hence that one answer to this question must be established to the exclusion of all others. And the favored answer has been that Booth's actions are not discrete, or indeed (...)
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  • On the Pragmatics of Counterfactuals.Sarah Moss - 2012 - Noûs 46 (3):561-586.
    Recently, von Fintel (2001) and Gillies (2007) have argued that certain sequences of counterfactuals, namely reverse Sobel sequences, should motivate us to abandon standard truth conditional theories of counterfactuals for dynamic semantic theories. I argue that we can give a pragmatic account of our judgments about counterfactuals without giving up the standard semantics. In particular, I introduce a pragmatic principle governing assertability, and I use this principle to explain a variety of subtle data concerning reverse Sobel sequences.
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  • The Debate About Time: Examining the Evidence From Our Ordinary Experience of Time.Melissa MacAulay - unknown
    In this thesis, I examine the metaphysical debate between the A-theory and the B-theory of time, first by elaborating upon its proper characterization, and then by examining the sorts of evidence that are often thought to be germane to it. This debate, as I see it, is about whether or not time passes in any objective sense: the A-theory holds that it does, while the B-theory holds that it does not. I identify two opposing conceptions of time—that of the “time (...)
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  • Ontological Commitment.Phillipn D. Bricker - 2014 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  • The Oxford Handbook of Philosophical Methodology.Herman Cappelen, Tamar Szabó Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.) - 2016 - Oxford University Press.
    This is the most comprehensive book ever published on philosophical methodology. A team of thirty-eight of the world's leading philosophers present original essays on various aspects of how philosophy should be and is done. The first part is devoted to broad traditions and approaches to philosophical methodology. The entries in the second part address topics in philosophical methodology, such as intuitions, conceptual analysis, and transcendental arguments. The third part of the book is devoted to essays about the interconnections between philosophy (...)
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  • Events.Roberto Casati & Achille C. Varzi - 2020 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    A critical survey of the main philosophical theories about events and event talk, organized in three main sections: (i) Events and Other Categories (Events vs. Objects; Events vs. Facts; Events vs. Properties; Events vs. Times); (ii) Types of Events (Activities, Accomplishments, Achievements, and States; Static and Dynamic Events; Actions and Bodily Movements; Mental and Physical Events; Negative Events); (iii) Existence, Identity, and Indeterminacy.
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  • Omissions and Causal Explanations.Achille C. Varzi - 2007 - In Francesca Castellani & Josef Quitterer (eds.), Agency and Causation in the Human Sciences. Mentis Verlag. pp. 155–167.
    In previous work I have argued that talk about negative events should not be taken at face value: typically, what we are inclined to think of as a negative event (John’s failure to go jogging) is just an ordinary, positive event (his going to the movie instead); it is a positive event under a negative description. Here I consider more closely the difficulties that arise in those cases where no positive event seems available to do the job, as with putative (...)
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  • On the Compositional Nature of the Aspects.H. J. Verkuyl - 1972 - Dordrecht, Netherlands: D.Reidel Publishing Company.
    This study aims to make for a better understanding of the term 'Aspects' in linguistic theory. Its most current application is found in studies on Slavonic languages. In the abundant literature on the contrast between the Durative (or Imperfective) Aspect and the Nondurative (or Perfective) Aspect, their occurrence has been taken to be restricted to Slavonic and some other languages, generally speaking to languages whose Verbal systems are morphologically characte.rized with regard to this opposition. The central hypothesis of transformational-generative theory (...)
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  • Plurals and Mereology.Salvatore Florio & David Nicolas - 2021 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 50 (3):415-445.
    In linguistics, the dominant approach to the semantics of plurals appeals to mereology. However, this approach has received strong criticisms from philosophical logicians who subscribe to an alternative framework based on plural logic. In the first part of the article, we offer a precise characterization of the mereological approach and the semantic background in which the debate can be meaningfully reconstructed. In the second part, we deal with the criticisms and assess their logical, linguistic, and philosophical significance. We identify four (...)
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  • Attempts.Jonathan D. Payton - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies.
    It’s generally assumed that, if an agent x acts by ϕ-ing, then there occurs an event which is x’s ϕ-ing. But what about when an agent tries to do something? Are there such things as attempts? The standard answer is ‘Yes’. But in a series of articles, and now a book, David-Hillel Ruben has argued that the answer is ‘No’: what happens when x tries to ϕ isn’t that an attempt occurs; rather, what happens is simply that a certain subjunctive (...)
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  • Prolegomena to Music Semantics.Philippe Schlenker - 2019 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 10 (1):35-111.
    We argue that a formal semantics for music can be developed, although it will be based on very different principles from linguistic semantics and will yield less precise inferences. Our framework has the following tenets: Music cognition is continuous with normal auditory cognition. In both cases, the semantic content derived from an auditory percept can be identified with the set of inferences it licenses on its causal sources, analyzed in appropriately abstract ways. What is special about music semantics is that (...)
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  • Meaning, Evidence, and Objectivity.Olivia Sultanescu - 2021 - In Syraya Chin-Mu Yang & Robert H. Myers (eds.), Donald Davidson on Action, Mind and Value. pp. 171-184.
    This chapter addresses the question of what, according to the conception of meaning offered by Donald Davidson, makes expressions meaningful. It addresses this question by reflecting on Kathrin Glüer’s recent response to it. It argues that Glüer misconstrues both the evidence for meaning that the radical interpreter must rely on and the way in which the principle of charity must be deployed. The articulation of the correct construal of the evidence and the principle reveals the thoroughly non-reductionist aspect of Davidson’s (...)
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  • Sociology and Philosophy in the United States Since the Sixties: Death and Resurrection of a Folk Action Obstacle.Michael Strand - 2020 - Theory and Society 49 (1):101-150.
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  • The Artistic Expression of Feeling.Gary Kemp - 2020 - Philosophia 49 (1):315-332.
    In the past 60 years or so, the philosophical subject of artistic expression has generally been handled as an inquiry into the artistic expression of emotion. In my view this has led to a distortion of the relevant territory, to the artistic expression of feeling’s too often being overlooked. I explicate the emotion-feeling distinction in modern terms, and urge that the expression of feeling is too central to be waived off as outside the proper philosophical subject of artistic expression. Restricting (...)
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  • Agentive Free Choice.Melissa Fusco - forthcoming - Journal of Philosophical Logic:1-31.
    The Free Choice effect---whereby <>(p or q) seems to entail both <>p and <>q---has traditionally been characterized as a phenomenon affecting the deontic modal "may". This paper presents an extension of the semantic account of free choice defended in Fusco (2015) to the agentive modal "can", the "can" which, intuitively, describes an agent's powers. -/- I begin by sketching a model of inexact ability, which grounds a modal approach to agency (Belnap & Perloff 1998; Belnap, Perloff, and Xu 2001) in (...)
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  • On the Interaction of Aspect and Modal Auxiliaries.Valentine Hacquard - 2009 - Linguistics and Philosophy 32 (3):279-315.
    This paper discusses the interaction of aspect and modality, and focuses on the puzzling implicative effect that arises when perfective aspect appears on certain modals: perfective somehow seems to force the proposition expressed by the complement of the modal to hold in the actual world, and not merely in some possible world. I show that this puzzling behavior, originally discussed in Bhatt (1999, Covert modality in non-finite contexts) for the ability modal, extends to all modal auxiliaries with a circumstantial modal (...)
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  • Tun Und Lassen – Überlegungen Zur Ontologie Menschlichen Handelns.Ralf Stoecker - 1998 - Erkenntnis 48 (2-3):395-413.
    The widely agreed view that actions are events faces the problem of how to describe the “branches” in so-called action trees, i.e. actions which are done by doing other actions. Moreover, the view is also inconsistent with the existence of two familiar species of agency: omitting something and letting things happen. In this article, an alternative conception of action is proposed which takes letting happen as the paradigm of agency. Agency should be construed as an explanatory relation between agents and (...)
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  • Numbers and Relations.Byeong-Uk Yi Glaister - 1998 - Erkenntnis 49 (1):93-113.
    In this paper, I criticize John Bigelow's account of number and present my own account that results from the criticism. In doing so, I argue that proper understanding of the nature of number requires a radical departure from the standard conception of language and reality and outline the alternative conception that underlies my account of number. I argue that Bigelow's account of number rests on an incorrect analysis of the plural constructions underlying the talk of number and propound an analysis (...)
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  • Monotonicity in Opaque Verbs.Thomas Ede Zimmermann - 2006 - Linguistics and Philosophy 29 (6):715 - 761.
    The paper is about the interpretation of opaque verbs like “seek”, “owe”, and “resemble” which allow for unspecific readings of their (indefinite) objects. It is shown that the following two observations create a problem for semantic analysis: (a) The opaque position is upward monotone: “John seeks a unicorn” implies “John seeks an animal”, given that “unicorn” is more specific than “animal”. (b) Indefinite objects of opaque verbs allow for higher-order, or “underspecific”, readings: “Jones is looking for something Smith is looking (...)
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  • The Semantics and Pragmatics of the Perfect.Paul Portner - 2003 - Linguistics and Philosophy 26 (4):459-510.
    The English perfect involves two fundamental components of meaning: a truth-conditional one involving temporal notions and a current relevance presupposition best expressed in terms drawn from the analysis of modality. The proposal made here draws much for the Extended Now theory, but improves on it by showing that many aspects of the perfect's meaning may be factored out into independent semantic or pragmatic principles.
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  • Eventualities and Narrative Progression.Terence Parsons - 2002 - Linguistics and Philosophy 25 (5-6):681-699.